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15 Jul, 2018 18:09

Hawaii gets new island as erupting volcanic crater continues to spew lava into sea

Hawaii gets new island as erupting volcanic crater continues to spew lava into sea

Lava flows that have been cascading into the sea have formed a brand new, small island off the coast of Hawaii after a crater at Mount Kilauea exploded with the force of a 5.2-magnitude earthquake.

Friday’s crater explosion sparked a slow-moving flood of lava that destroyed hundreds of homes at Kapoho, on the Big Island. A once-scenic bay dotted with idyllic beach homes, parkland, and turquoise water used for swimming and scuba diving was quickly turned into a menacing, steaming dark pool. When the lava cooled, the sea peeled back to reveal a small island jutting out from the depths only a few meters from the mainland.

According to Hawaii News Now, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory estimated that the island is about 20 to 30 feet in diameter. The new island formed at the northernmost part of the ocean entry and is “oozing lava similar to the lava oozing from the broad flow front along the coastline.”

On Friday at 4.53pm local time, a 2.59-magnitude earthquake was recorded. Only a few hours later, at 7.15pm local time, the observatory reported what they called an “explosive event” at Halemaumau Crater on Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano at just after 7pm.

The observatory added that the tiny island is likely part of the flow from fissure number eight, which is entering the ocean. While scientists are calling the lava-based structure an island, they believe it could possibly be a “submarine tumulus” which built up underwater and emerged above sea level.

Kapoho is now uninhabited after much of the town was destroyed by an earlier eruption in early June.

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